Hamilton points finger at Ferrari after early drama
Lewis Hamilton accused Ferrari of dirty tactics following Sebastian Vettel's dramatic victory at the British Grand Prix.
Hamilton, roared on by a record-breaking 140,500-strong crowd, fought his way back from last place to second after Vettel's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen collided with his Mercedes on the opening lap.
Hamilton afforded Raikkonen space at the right-handed third turn, but the Finn locked up, before his left-front tyre thudded into the right-rear of Hamilton's Mercedes.
The Englishman was sent into a spin, and he re-joined the track at the back of the pack.
The stewards had no trouble in declaring Raikkonen as the guilty party.
He was slapped with a 10-second penalty and two points on his drivers' licence.
After Vettel's collision with Valtteri Bottas in France, Sunday's coming together at Silverstone marked the second time in just three races that a Ferrari car has hit a Mercedes.
And despite his breathless comeback, Hamilton was visibly furious with Raikkonen's behaviour.
First, the Englishman broke protocol by refusing to be interviewed after the race and headed straight for the podium green room. Then, when on the rostrum, he avoided eye contact with Vettel and Raikkonen, who ultimately crossed the line in third.
"Interesting tactics from their side," Hamilton said on the podium. "We will do all we can to fight them in the next races."
Minutes later, the top three arrived for a tense post-race press conference. Hamilton's voice crackled as he dissected his comeback drive.
Off camera, he look agitated as Vettel celebrated a victory which moved the German eight points clear in the championship, and denied Hamilton a record sixth win at his home race.
Did Hamilton feel the collision was deliberate?
"All I would say is that in two races the Ferraris have taken out one of the Mercedes," he replied. "A five-second penalty (for Vettel in France) and 10-second penalty here spoils our race.
"It is a lot of points that Valtteri and I have lost in those two scenarios."
Tellingly, Hamilton added: "In the future, we have got to position ourselves better so we are not exposed to the red cars because who knows when that is going to happen again?"
Away from the press conference room, Hamilton's Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was not pulling any punches either.
"In (Mercedes' technical director) James Allison's words, 'do you think it is deliberate or incompetence?'. This leaves us with a judgment," he said.
Back to the press conference room, and the Ferrari drivers were fighting their corner.
"It is quite silly to think that anything that happened was deliberate," Vettel, sitting to Hamilton's left, said. "I would struggle to be that precise to take somebody out. There wasn't any intention and I find it unnecessary to go there."
Raikkonen, one along from Vettel, added: "I locked a wheel and we touched. We have been hit also. That is how it goes sometimes."
What a difference a day makes. Only 24 hours earlier had Hamilton been revelling in one of the finest pole laps of his career. His start was anything but.
He slipped from first to third, and then last after the Raikkonen collision. He fought back to sixth - after passing 12 cars in only 10 laps - which then became third after Marcus Ericsson crashed out at 200mph and the safety car was deployed.
While both Ferraris pitted for new rubber, Hamilton and Bottas were left out and both gained track position.
Bottas assumed the lead, and no sooner had the racing begun when a second safety car was issued following Romain Grosjean's collision with Carlos Sainz.
The race re-started with 10 laps to go, but Bottas' tyres did not last the course, and he was passed by Vettel, Hamilton and then Raikkonen in a frenetic final few laps.